Posted on 9/26/2011 11:32 AM by Debbie Designer

God, there is a disgusting amount of patterns being created each day, am I right? All these designers are out there just drawing and drawing, making repeat after repeat, and, well—it gets a little repetitive.

So how to sift through all the junk and get to what really matters?

I present you with The Good, The Bad, and The Awesome. Know them well, young grasshopper, and you too could have a jaw-dropping portfolio of work.

We all know The Bad--all those viny leaves and swirling paisleys. Oh, the swirls and paisleys! It's time to kick those cutesy curlicues and wild rainbow palettes like a bad habit. Just cast them aside and never look back. Trust me, it’s not that hard.

The real trouble starts when you get to The Good, those patterns that are just skating by with a nice touch of metallic here and a novel color combo there. If only the scale could be a little bigger or a littler smaller, the texture a little rougher or a little silkier. Like a guy who dresses well but sports a pinky ring, these patterns are a little harder to walk away from. Can't The Good fabric just take you out to a nice dinner on Tuesdays? No. There can be no settling for just good. Every fabric you pick should be ready to go out on the town on Saturday night. The goal of design, after all, is to be great.

That brings us to our last category: The Awesome. Don't be fooled. Not every pattern earning praise is actually part of The Awesome (see my first post “Allow Me to Introduce Myself” for reference). Sure, some folks will present a thoughtful argument, write up some nice, flowery descriptions, pull a few favors, and get The Good and The Bad on those glossy pages we all covet. It takes a wise eye to see through all the ad budgets and the PR magic tricks, but it can be done. In fact, I found a few today.

And so, in a strikingly positive turn of events, I present you with a sampling of The Awesome.

Donghia's Casino pattern has an enviably hand-made look and feel and a wisely edited set of color options.



Luke Irwin's children's carpets are cute without being cutesy, and have a comfortable, time-worn feel from the start.



Flavor Paper's Mirage wallpaper pattern takes a basic geometric idea and trips it out into something funky and different, with a great sense of movement and shimmer.



There you have it: The Awesome, in multiple product categories, and in divergent styles.

Hate what I picked? Hopefully not as much as if I popped up some tone-on-tone checkerboard, or a black and white damask.

The thing about The Awesome is that we all have our own version. Being great is a constant game of “to each his own.”

It's time to go forth and curate. Find The Awesome, the different, the new. Take the risk, and own the outcome. And please, avoid the old florals and stripes that come out every year. You're better than that.